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News/Business. Tamron Hall. Tamron Hall provides context and informed perspectives on the stories making headlines. New.

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Us 18, Susan Rice 14, Lindsey Graham 9, John Mccain 9, Graham 8, Syria 7, United States 6, Chuck 4, Mccain 4, U.n. 4, Fbi 3, Iran 3, Cia 3, Steve 2, United Nations 2, Collins 2, Susan Collins 2, Christie 2, Sandy 2, Obama 2,
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  MSNBC    News Nation    News/Business. Tamron Hall. Tamron Hall provides context and  
   informed perspectives on the stories making headlines. New.  

    November 14, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00pm PST  

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prejudging what he's interested in doing, nor am i suggesting i've got a specific assignment but what i want to do is get ideas from him and see if there's some ways to potentially work together. >> did it -- relationships with congress, one of the most frequent criticisms we have heard from members on both sides is that you haven't done enough to reach out and build relationships. are there concrete ways that you plan to approach your relationships with congress in the second term? >> look. i think there's no doubt that i can always do better and so i wi will, you know, examine ways that i can make sure to communicate my desire to work with everybody so long as it's advancing the cause of strengthening our middle class and improving our economy. you know, i've got a lot of good
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relationships with folks in the house and the senate and both sides of the aisle. it hasn't always manifested itself in the kind of agreements that i would like to see between democrats and republicans and so i think all of us have responsibilities to see if there are things to improve on. and i don't exempt myself from needing to, you know, do some self reflection and see if i can improve our working relationship. there are probably going to be still be some sharp differences and as i said during the campaign there are going to be times there's fights and i think those are fights this need to be had but what i think the american people don't want to see is a focus on the next election instead of a focus on them. and i don't have another election. and, you know, michele and i were talking last night about, you know, what an incredible honor and privilege it is to be
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put in this position. and there are people all across this country, millions of folks who worked so hard to help us get elected but there are also millions of people who may not have voted for us but are counting on us. and, you know, we take that responsibility very seriously. i take that responsibility very seriously. and i hope and intend to be an even better president in the second term than i was in the first. >> jonathan carl? >> thank you, mr. president. senator john mccain and senator lindsey graham said today they want watergate-style hearings on the attack in benghazi and if you nominate susan rice as secretary of state they will do everything to block the nomination and senator graham said he doesn't trust her after
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benghazi. i would like your reaction to that and would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that? >> at this point i won't comment on various nominations i'll put forward to fill out my cabinet for the second term. those are thing that is are still being discussed. but let me say specifically about susan rice. she has done exemplary work. she has represented the united states and our interests in the united nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. as i've said before, she made an appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go
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after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received and to besmeerch her separation is outrageous and, you know, we're after an election now. i think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in mbenbenghazi and ha to cooperate in any ways that congress wants. we have provided every bit of information that we have. and we'll continue to provide information and we've got a full-blown investigation and all that information will be discorged to congress. i don't think there's a debate in this country with four
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americans killed that's a problem. we have to get to the bottom of it and there needs to be accountability. we've got to bring those who carried it out to justice. they won't get any debate from me on that. when they go after the u.n. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me. and should i choose, if i think that she would be the best person to serve america, in the capacity, the state department, then i will nominate here. that's not a determination i've made yet. okay. ed henry? >> i want to take chuck's lead and ask a small follow-up is whether you feel you have a mandate not just on tax cuts but
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a range of issues because of your election and then what john said, if they want to come after me, then come after me. the families of the four killed, the father believes he called 911 for help and didn't get it. and i know you have said you grieved for the four americans, this it's being investigated, but the families have been waited for more than two months, so i would like to -- for you to address the families if you can. on 9/11, as commander in chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives? >> ed, you know, i'll address the families not through the press. i'll address the families directly as i already have. and we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. that's what the investigation's for. but as i said repeatedly, if people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure
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that we saved the lives of the folks who i sent there and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the united states then you don't know how our defense department thinks or our state department thinks or the cia thinks. their number one priority is obviously to protect american lives. that's what our job is. [ inaudible ] ed, i'll put forward every bit of information that we have. i can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger, that my orders to my national security team were, doing whatever we need to do to make sure they're safe. and that's the same order that i would give any time that i see americans are in danger, whether they're civilian or military because that's our number one priority. with respect to the issue of mandate, i've got one mandate.
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i've got a mandate to help middle class families and family that is are working hard to try to get in the middle class. that's my mandate. that's what the american people said. they said work really hard to help us. don't worry about the politics of it. don't worry about the party interests. don't worry about the special interests. just work really hard to see if you can help us get ahead because we're working really hard out and still struggling, a lot of us. that's my mandate. i don't presume that because i won an election that everybody suddenly agrees with me on everything. i'm more than familiar with all of the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. we are very cautious about that. on the other hand, i didn't get re-elected just to bask in re-election. i got elected to do work on
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behalf of american families and small businesses all across the country who are still recovering from a really bad recession but are hopeful about the future. and i am, too. the one thing that, you know, i said during the campaign that maybe sounds like a bunch of campaign rhetoric but now that the campaign's over i'll repeat it and hopefully you will really believe me. when you travel around the country, you are inspired by the grit and resilience and hard work and decency of the american work and makes you want to work harder. you meet families who have overcome really tough odds and somehow are making it and sending their kids to college and you meet young people who are doing incredible work and disadvantaged communities
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because they believe in, you know, the american ideal and it should be available for everybody. and, you know, you meet farmers who are helping each other during times of drought and, you know, you meet businesses that kept their doors open in the recession even though the owner didn't have to take a salary and when you talk to these folks, you say to yourself, man, they deserve a better government than they've been getting. they deserve all of us here in washington to be thinking every single day, how can i make things a little better for them? which isn't to say that everything we do is going to be perfect or that there aren't just going to be some big, tough challenges that we have to grapple with. but i do know that the federal government can see a difference. we are seeinging it right now on the jersey coast and in new york. people are still going through a really tough time. the response hasn't been perfect
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but it's been aggressive and strong and fast and robust and a lot of people have been helped because of it. and that's a pretty good metaphor for how i want the federal government to operate generally and i'll do everything i can to make sure it does. christie parson. hey. >> thank you, mr. president. and congratulations by the way. >> thanks. christie was there in -- when i was running for state senate. >> that's right, i was. >> christie and i go back a ways. >> never seen you lose. i wasn't there that one time. >> there you go. >> one quick follow-up and then i want to ask you about iran. i just want to make sure i understood what you said. can you envision any scenario in which we go off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year? and on iran, are you preparing a final diplomatic push here to resolve the nuclear program issue? and are we heading towards one
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on one talks? >> well, obviously, we can all imagine a scenario where we go off the fiscal cliff. if despite the election, if despite the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff and what that means for our economy that there's too much stubbornness in congress that we can't even agree on giving middle class families a tax cut, then middle class families end up having a big tax hike and that's a pretty rude shock for them and i suspect we'll have a big impact on the holiday shopping season, which in turn will have an impact on business planning and hiring and we can go back in to a recession. it would be a bad thing. it is not necessary. so i want to repeat. step number one that we can take
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in the next couple of weeks, provide certainty to middle class families, 98% of families who make less than $250,000 a year, 97% of small businesses that their taxes will not go up a single dime next year. give them that certainty. right now. we can get that done. we can then set up a structure whereby we're dealing with tax reform, closing deductions, closing loopholes, simplifying, dealing with entitlements and i'm ready to make big commitments to lock in the kind of deficit reductions that stabilize our deficit, start bringing it down, start bringing down our debt. i'm confident we can do it. it's -- and look. i've been living with this for a couple of years now. i know the math pretty well and it's -- it really is arithmetic.
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it's not calculus. there's tough things that have to be done but a way of doing this that doesn't hurt middle class families, doesn't hurt our seniors, doesn't hurt families with disabled kids. allows us to continue to invest in the things that make us grow like basic research and education, helping young people afford going to college. as we've already heard from some republican commentators, a modest tax increase on the wealthy is not going to break their backs. they'll still be wealthy. and it will not impinge on business investment. so, we know how to do this. this is just a matter of whether or not we come together and go ahead and say, democrats and republicans, we're both going to hold hands and do what's right for the american people. and i hope that's what happens. with respect to iran, i very much want to see a diplomatic
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resolution to the problem. i was very clear before the campaign. i was clear during the campaign and i'm now clear after the campaign. we're not going to let iran get a nuclear weapon. but i think there's still a window of time for us to resolve this diplomatically. we have imposed the toughest sanctions in history. it is having an impact on iran's economy. there should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing clear assurances to the international community that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. and so, yes. i will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between iran and not just us but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved. i can't promise that iran will walk through the door they need to walk through but that would be very much the preferable
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option. >> what circumstances would iran have a conversation to take place? >> i won't talk about the details of negotiations but i think it's fair to say that we want to get this resolved and we're not going to be constrained by diplomatic niceties or protocols if iran is serious about wanting to resolve this, they'll be in a position to resolve it. >> one point, just prior to the election there was talk that talks might be -- >> that was not true. and it's not -- it's not true as of today. okay? just going to knock through a couple others. mark landers. where's mark? there he is. right in front of me. >> thank you, mr. president. in his endorsement of you, a few weeks ago, mayor bloomberg said he was motivated by the belief that you would do more to confront the threat of climate change than your opponent. tomorrow you are going up to new york city where you're going to see i assume see people still
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suffering the affects of hurricane sandy which many people say is further evidence of how a warming globe is changing our weather. what specifically do you plan to do in a second term to tackle the issue of climate change, and do you think the political will exists in washington to pass legislation that could include some kind of attacks on carbon? >> you know, as you know, mark, we can't attribute any particular weather event to climate change. what we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing. faster than was predicted even ten years ago. we do know that the arctic icecap is melting. faster than was predicted even five years ago. we do know that there have been extraordinarily -- there have been an extraordinarily large
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number of severe weather events here in north america but also around the globe. and i am a firm believer that climate change is real. that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. and as a consequence, i think we have an obligation to future generations to do something about it. now, in my first term, we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. that will have an impact. that will take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. we doubled the use of natural fuel and we continue to invest in potential breakthrough technologies that could further remove carbon from our atmosphere. but we haven't done as much as we need to so what i'm going to
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be doing over the next several weeks, next several months is having a conversation, wide ranging conversation, with scientists, engineers and elected officials to find out what more can we do to make a short-term progress in reducing carb carbons. and then, you know, working through an education process that i think is necessary, a discussion, a conversation across the country about, you know, what realistically can we do long-term to make sure that this is not something we're passing on to future generations that's going to be very expensive and painful to deal with. i don't know what either democrats or republicans are prepared to do at this point. because, you know, this is one of those issues that's not just
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partisan issue. also, i think there's regional differences. there's no doubt that for us to take on climate change in a serious way would involve making some tough political choices. and, you know, understandably i think the american people right now so focused and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth that, you know, if the message is somehow we're going to ignore jobs and growth, simply to address climate change, i don't think anybody's going to go for that. i won't go for that. if on the other hand we can shape an agenda that says, we can create jobs, advance growth and make a serious dent in climate change and be an international leader, that's something that the american people would support. so, you know, you can expect that you'll hear more from me in
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the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that garners bipartisan support and helps move this agenda forward. >> sounds like you're saying with the current -- republicans still -- consensus on some kind of tax. >> that i'm pretty certain of. and look. we're still trying to debate whether we can just make sure that middle class families don't get a tax hike. let's see if we can resolve that. that should be easy. this one's hard. but it's important. because, you know, one of the things that we don't always factor in are the costs involved in the natural disasters. we just put them off as something that's unconnected to our behavior right now and i think what based on the evidence we're seeing is that what we do now will have an impact and a cost down the road if we don't do something about it.
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all right. last question. mark feltsenthal. where's mark? >> thank you. mr. president, the assad regime engaged in a brutal crackdown on its people. france have recognized the opposition coalition. what would it take for the united states to do the same? is there a point the united states would consider arming the rebels? >> i was one of the first leaders i think around the world to say assad had to go in response to the incredible brutality that his government displayed in the face of what were initially peaceful protests. obviously, the situation in syria's deteriorated since then. we have been extensively engaged with the international community, as well as regional powers, to help the opposition. we have committed to hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian aid to help folks
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both inside of syria and outside of syria. we are constantly consulting with the opposition on how they can get organized so that they're not splintered and divided in the face of the onslaught from the assad regime. we are in very close contact with countries like turkey and jordan that immediately border syria and have an impact. obviously, israel which is having already a grave concerns as we do about, for example, movements of chemical weapons that might occur in such a chaotic atmosphere and that could have an impact not just within syria but on the region as a whole. i'm encouraging to see that the syrian opposition created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion than they have had in the past. we're going to be talking to them. my enjoys will be traveling to,
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you know, various meetings that are going to be taking place with the international community and opposition. we consider them a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the syrian people. we're not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile. but we do think that it is a broad-based representative group. one of the questions that we're going to continue to press is making sure that that opposition is committed to a democratic syria, an inclusive syria, a moderate syria. we have seen extremist elements insinuate themselves in to the opposition. and, you know, one of the things that we have to be on guard about, particularly when we start talking about arming opposition figures that we're not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do americans harm or do israelis
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harm or otherwise engage in actions that are detrimental to our national security so we're constantly probing engaged we ae we'll be in position to encourage the most moderate, thoughtful elements of the opposition committed to inclusion of human rights and working cooperatively with us over the long term. all right? thank you very much. [ inaudible ] >> on spending, $1.2 trillion figure, is that something to see a short-term component or -- >> that was a great question but it would be a horrible precedent for me to answer your question just because you yelled it out. so, thank you very much, guys.
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>> there you have it, president obama concluding his first news conference since re-election. you hear the president actually refusing to answer the final question saying it would set a horrible precedent because the journalist chose to yell the question out without the president choosing to acknowledge him. a lot to discuss, a wide range of questions. let's bring in chuck todd, chief white house correspondent. it was a question of is the fiscal cliff the number one conversation piece or petraeus. it turns out when you look at the traffic online, it's president's response to questions about susan rice and criticism leveled at her from lindsey gram, senator john mccain and susan collins. >> i can tell you i know this bhous is us from tralted with john mccain and lindsey graham on the benghazi issue for quite sometime and you can see the president was almost looking forward to that question, if you will. i know there's personal irritation if you will in the west wing over susan rice being
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used as a scapegoat, a lot of loyalty to susan rice around here, particularly the campaign 2008 veteran. she was a big part of the president's 2008 campaign and i think where the personal defense of street comes in with the president and susan rice. add in this just let's not pretend a great relationship. the president john mccain. john mccain has been not always come across as the most magnanimous with the president and i think now there's more becoming a two-way issue with the president and john mccain. maybe not surprising considering they were former rivals for the presidency but you can tell this has got a personal -- there's a personal nature to this back and forth, tamron. there's two other piece of news. the president left himself room on tax rates. on the negotiations. he wants -- we know what he wants. he wants the tax rates to rise
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on the fiscal cliff for the top 2% but he left himself an opening some wriggle room. maybe doesn't have to be the full 39% rise. maybe it's somewhere in the middle. he is willing, he is showing openness. i have heard of republicans very pleased with that answer if you will. and then on the second thing, i thought the distance that he was choosing to have from the petraeus investigation was something worth marking there. a couple of chances that he really trying to keep his distance from the entire episode. >> also, as well, the language the president chose to use regarding immigration and the gop's recognition since this election that the latino vote in this country represents so much more, especially now as the president said you see latino voters showing up and taking the civic responsibility and showing that they have power in their vote. >> well, that's right. tamron, it's no accident. i think he wanted to make sure that he believes that hispanic
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media should be a prominent role at the white house. remember, the president decides, he calls on people and made sure that telemundo and glad they were right up in there and a tacet acknowledgment. he knows how he won the state of florida and perhaps credit the victory in virginia to that. he knows how important the hispanic vote was to his coalition in winning re-election. and, you know, at this point, i think we'll know -- i'll be shocked if we don't see comprehensive immigration reform signed in to law before summer of next year. i'll be shocked if it doesn't happen that quickly. >> you are absolutely right, chuck. we're both from states of high population and voters of hispanic voters but interesting with lindsey graham ready to run out the door basically to tackle immigration reform. before the president was fought so hard on things like the dream act and has a gop if you use the
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language, he can pull over to his side here. >> yeah. look. it's 85 votes. in the senate, you watch when it happens, it will be a rush. you will have a majority of the republicans will end up signing on to the bill that's negotiated between graham and schumer. they have talked about this. we know the white house has involvement in this. it's going to happen. and it's going to happen with remarkable speed. sometimes the ballot box does speak. >> quickly, chuck, senator lindsey graham made a new statement in response to president obama's comments about benghazi and ambassador rice. in part it says, chuck, mr. president, don't think for one minute i don't hold you ultimately responsible for bengha benghazi. i think you failed as commander in chief before, during and after attack. trying to use language or toughness if you will what the president said today. if you have a problem, come to me. >> sure. well, that's right. this is one of those -- this is lindsey graham jumping in to the
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fray in this one. i think it guarantees that you will see this could be an exchange of rhetoric that might not go away any time soon and this is a week of some private hearings between the intel community and the senate and house congressional leaders but what irks the white house on the specific issue of mbenbenghazi susan rice is the same intelligence reports that rice was getting and the white house was the same intelligence reports that congress was getting and that's why there is this personal irritation if you will from the president and others on the national security team who feel as if it's clear that the intelligence was not good at the time but nobody realized it at the time. >> let me bring in david gregory. the news conference is responded to by senator lindsey graham. let's play the president's most heated moment i think regarding suzanne rice. >> i'm very confident that we can get immigration reform done.
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before the election i had gibb a couple of interviews where i had predicted that latino vote was going to be strong and that that would cause some reflection on the part of republicans about their position on immigration reform. i think we're starting to see that already. >> we apologize. obviously, that's the president's statement on immigration. david, let's start there, nevertheless. after the vote, the president talked about a mandate regarding the increase or the extension of bush tax cuts for the wealthy. that's a no-go and showed progress in the voice of immigration, comprehensive immigration reform. let's say my takeaway today is this is a president repaired to fight on a couple of key areas. you talk about benghazi and susan rice and if he wants her to be his secretary of state, he made it very clear today that he's ready to fight. this will pale in comparison or rather the other fights in the first term, over cole or tim geithner and what this could
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become given the rhetoric on both sides of rice's role and described the benghazi attack. the president making it clear by name lindsey graham and john mccain are outrageous going after her because in his words they may think she's an easy target and this will continue 0 and on the taxes, as well. he is making it very clear that the american people support his view of raising taxes on wealthy americans. >> he pointed to exit poll numbers and more people support his tax idea than actually voted for him. >> voted for him. >> we do have that sound regarding ambassador rice. let's play it, please. >> let me say specifically about susan rice. she has done exemplary work. she has represented the united states and our interests in the united nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. as i've said before, she made an
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appearance at the request of the white house in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. and i'm happy to have that discussion with them. but for them to go after the u.n. ambassador who had nothing to do with benghazi? and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. >> david, i read a part of senator graham's response to the remarks and more. he says we owe it to the american people and the victims of the attack to have full, fair hearings and accountability assigned where appropriate.
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given what i know, i have no intention of promotting anyone up to their eyeballs in the mbenbenghazi debacle. >> right. and this is really the issue here, which is, was there improper -- not improper. that's the wrong word. business there botched communication between parts of the government that had to be coordinating, cia and state and the white house in terms of how the situation in benghazi was initially responded to on the ground and then later shared on what caused attack in the first place? did they fail to call the attack what it was at the time when they knew better? what the president is referring to is susan rice comes on "meet the press" and other programs with the comments saying that, you know, there's a fbi investigation and appears to be a spontaneous attack. there's displeasure of the united states of what they were
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finding out at the time. >> pete williams, we thought so much more would be said of general allen and general petraeus and the president answering the questions but i think predictably avoiding getting pulled in to too much, especially with who u eve got mbenbenghazi with general petra and another set of issues and cia chief. >> right. and what he basically said is that he sees no classified evidence or no danger of classified evidence was in any way disclosed to jeopardize national security. and the second thing he said is, that his expectations is that the fbi followed established protocols. when chuck gave him the chance to say are you withholding judgment, the president said, yes, that's right. i'm withholding judgment on what the fbi did here and then said he has great respect for the fbi and that if he had been told about the investigation in the middle of it then everybody would be asking, why was the white house informed in the middle of an investigation? so the president had two chances here basically to express any
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displeasure that he might have had with how the petraeus matter was handled and the most he said is, i'm withholding judgment. >> chuck, does that come as a real surprise in the president saying what we've heard from others on the cabinet, withholding judgment as the story i believe someone said t gets weirder by the day i think it was described. chuck? >> oh, i'm sorry. i thought you were addressing that question to pete. no worries. that's exactly the way it's funny this white house, they don't feel -- they feel it's a distraction. they don't feel it's getting in the way of their work yet. they're annoyed by it but they're not -- it's funny. it doesn't feel like it's a burden that's hanging over their head. that said, every day that they wake up, there's this new addition, and it is sort of one of these, you know, it does -- it does cause this issue. that i had one senior official tell me, tamron. which is they obviously have to
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do a lot of changes in the national team and we know about secretary of state and secretary of defense. possibly a new cia director, possibly they keep the acting one. folks here at the white house, the president has great respect for mike morell, current acting director. may strip him of the acting title. but they now realize he has to get off the dime when it comes to state. get it done sooner. don't let all of this, all of this end up like planes on the runway at laguardia and have them all clogged up. you have to space out the confirmation fights and i think that you're going to see movement on state soon. >> you have to get going. >> i do. they kick us out. >> blending in the role of federal government, saying that it is not always perfect, including the response for so many people still suffering greatly but it does work which we know is a great part of the discussion and even the exit polling that i did. the role of government in
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blending it in to the answer regarding the storm that hit this area. >> well, that's a case i think the president was able to make in the aftermath of hurricane sandy and the government plays a big roll and can play a constructive role and only government has the sort of scale to respond to the disasters in the government the terms of helping government and local states and comes up again and again. if there's something that did get debated in the scope of this campaign it is what is the proper role of government? particularly, when it comes in a separate matter to reviving economic growth. and i think that's the debate that we're about the start having again in the course of the these negotiations over avoiding the fiscal cliff. the president making it clear at the outset that on the matter of taxes on the rich, he doesn't -- it doesn't -- he's not inclined to budge. that's what he thinks he got a mandate for in terms of
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discussed in the campaign. >> thank you for joining us. >> sure. >> let's bring in kelly o'donnell. you were with senator graham and senator mccain earlier today regarding what is now the i think the hot button part of the president's news conference, this war of words. so much so that senator graham felt the need to immediately attempt to take on the president after this news conference. >> we can sort of feel, tamron, this was bubbling up and i expected the president to be asked about it and he made clear where he stands in his strong response. it is not just john mccain and lindsey graham. there are others raising questions about the potential for susan rice to be elevated to secretary of state. they have serious questions they say while the president says that susan rice was giving information given to her by the intelligence community, the questions these republicans are asking include why did the station chief in benghazi report in realtime, they say, it was a terrorist attack right away?
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there is a definite disagreement about the facts and question of republicans why susan rice was put in this question. they say as u.n. ambassador, why was she the spokesperson on the issue of benghazi in the first place and appeared on the morning shows as you discussed. senators point out it's their constitutional role to advise and consent on the nominations and push back when they see fit. they said what about condaleeza rice? wasn't that disqualifying and those was -- that was a different time and other countries agreed with the u.s. at that time that there was a danger of weapons of mass destruction. they're looking at it as a case by case they say and to the power they bring to this they intend to try to block the nomination if it goes forward. republicans don't have enough votes necessarily but they try to do. >> right. those facts are true, absolutely. again, but what the president
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pointed out today is he's not making a decision regarding the future of ambassador rice. so this seems to be obviously the legitimate concerns regarding benghazi and if they choose to ask the questions of ambassador rice about the series of interviews she did including "meet the press" and like a two-track attack and why the president said he believes he or some might see her as an easy target. i want play what senator rice had to say about rice and a possible confirmation. >> she has a lot of explaining to do. she has yet to come forward and explain why she gave the misleading information to the american public and we don't have the answers to that yet. and i for one need answers before i would be prepared to vote to confirm her for any position. >> we know there's behind the closed doors hearing and senator
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collins' choice of words, she is yet to come forward, as if ambassador rice has been avoiding coming forward or has been told by the white house or anyone else not to come forward and an interesting choice of senator collins. she is yet to come forward. >> there have been letters sent asking for specific explanations about where susan rice got her information, what led her to put forward the assessments she did and a lot of back and forth between congress and the administration about this, a lot of frustration. certainly, republican members to see a select committee to investigate benghazi and by that it means you would have different areas of expertise, not the existing special committees but a special group to investigate benghazi so what's happening is a building of pressure. they anticipate susan rice is the likely choice to succeed hillary clinton. trying to blunt that and draw more attention to benghazi. they knew that the president was going to have a news conference
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today. they tried to get out front of that saying the strong things and provoked a response of the president and will go on probably for sometime, a real gnashing of teeth politically between republicans and the president. >> all the while as you know, kelly, the president expected in about two minutes to meet with business leaders in the jefferson room. general electric ceo and american express ceo, a list of heavyweights in the business world and the president is hoping they will assist in moving the conversation forward to get the economy back on its feet. so a lot of i guess story lines to follow here. >> so many. >> greatly important and some as we know bizarre, the one regarding the general. >> by the way was the trade we heard here. >> it is. thank you so much. a pleasure. we'll go to a quick break.
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as i've said before, i'm open to compromise and i'm open to new ideas and i've encouraged over the past week to hear republican after republican agree on the need for more revenue from the wealthiest americans as part of our arithmetic if we're going to be serious about reducing the deficit. >> let's bring in congresswoman deborah wasserman-schultz. thank you for your time. it's a no-go, the taxes on the wealthiest americans and he said it's a different show after the re-election. >> well, most importantly, what the president said is that we need to right away give certainty to the middle class, that those middle class tax cuts, the legislation is sitting over in the house of representatives. we can take it up right now. send it to him. he'll sign it and before the holidays we can give the middle class certainty.
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then we can debate how we address making sure we take a balanced approach to deficit reduction. focus on a big deal. deal with the fiscal cliff and do that in a way that, yes, we are making spending cuts that are important but we're asking the wealthiest americans to do their fair share and pay a little bit more and that's the balance we have to strike. >> one of the questions asked regarding the balance to be struck as you put it, how much leeway will the left give the president regarding entitlement reform. he met with union leaders yesterday. they have the president's back at this point but where does the balance come from? >> well, it is going to be difficult and challenging, but anything worth doing is worth doing well and together. you know, we have shown repe repeatedly that when the two parties come together like tip o'neill and ronald reagan on social security reform we can
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add years of solvency and to medicare and do it and increase benefits like with obama care and we need both sides to be willing. i know the democrats are willing. president obama's willing to sit down at the table. what we don't need to do i can tell you is cut benefits. that's something that i don't think is the first thing that should be put forward. we have a lot of opportunity to continue to make reforms in medicare, make sure we build in more efficiencies to the program so we can add the years of solvency. >> what about eligibility age change? >> well, eligibility age change would fall in the realm of benefit cuts. we need to focus like i said first on making sure we build in more efficiencies to the program. we have been able to from obama care make sure that with that $716 billion in savings plowed in to waste, fraud and abuse -- fighting waste, fraud and abuse we have collected more than $10
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billion in fraudulent medicare payments and we can make more progress in that area, as well. >> thank you so much. i greatly appreciate you joining us. >> thank you, tamron. >> let's bring in now nbc news military analyst retired four-star general barry mccaffrey. no big headline of the president of the series of events with general petraeus and general allen, the president saying what you have said and many others. he needs to defer until we learn more and at this point does not believe any national security issues have come about as a result of this scandal. >> well, look. it's the president's response is fair minded, sensible, thoughtful, dignified. that's the way he should have dealt with it. and i thought the fall on media interest was balance and went on to the big issues. this is a tragedy for petraeus and his family. it's a huge loss to the united states and our ability to defend ourselves. and i think that's all we're looking at. now the thing with general
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allen, people ought to take a deep breath and wait and find out what the deal was here. it's not clear to me at all what the facts to that matter are. >> general mccaffrey, thank you for your time. i want to quickly bring in time, democratic strategist and national reporter molly ball. you are getting a last word, if you will, for this hour. we have a few minutes. chris, at least from the traction that what i'm looking at online and what other reporters are coming away from this news conference talking about is this issue regarding ambassador rice and the tough talk from the president responding to lindsey graham, john mccain and susan collins saying they'll block a nomination that doesn't exist at this point. >> what struck me wasn't just what the president said but came across very strong and determined and pointed in the
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responses, and you clearly saw, i think he's -- i don't want to say anger but definitely his passion in terms of defending his staff in terms of, you know, ambassador rice. i honestly cannot figure out what senator mccain and graham are doing to make it so political and 0 heated before there have been hearings about this is bizarre to me and i'll tell you. i think the president on this issue is going to look very strong, especially with the voters and the american people you need to kind of, you know, be reaching out to right now and then in the months ahead. >> and molly, it is interesting, prior to the election we know that there were some conservative journalists that felt it was a cover-up and saw the debacle in the debate with governor romney when he attempted to bring it up and never the did again in a debate form. here you have the politics of re-election behind us. what do you make of the president's answers regarding mbenbenghazi and especially aga
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this issue with susan rice? >> i think that's a good point and possible that the president feels like the last time someone attempted to politicize this issue they lost and angry that he perceives that's what's being done and what we saw was a tone, a very aggressive tone, a sort of a swagger, i think, from the president that he feels that, you know, someone asked if he felt he had a mandate and the answer is clear more than anything in his tone and the way that he came out pretty aggressively on almost every issue and talked about how he was going to -- how he was going to fight and clearly believes if the republicans choose to take him on they'll lose and the republicans firing back immediately. they clearly differ with him. >> to your point of clarify, the president talking about tax cuts for the wealthiest, not saying a mandate we pointing to the obvious number that is are there and if he did describe a mandate as he pointed out rgts it's to
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help the middle class and those trying to get to the middle class. the president bringing up the comment that, yes, there are wealthy people out there who basically shouldn't mind having to shell out an not sure why republicans keep trying to protect what he said were many wealthy people i think he said lived in hollywood and voted for the president anyway. >> it is amazing to me been a relatively short amount of time since the last election and already republicans in election mode and more focused on the base voters and not clear to them they lost talking to the base voters. they have to budge on the tax rate issue. where that line is i don't know. that's a deal struck between the noerkt or thes but if the republicans don't budge, i think they're going to be sorely mistaken because the president doesn't seem willing to give up and shouldn't with big entitlement reforms without taxes.
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>> thank you. molly, we hope to have you on soon, again, as well. thank you so much for joining us for this special edition of "news nation." following the president's first news conference since re-election. "the cycle" is up next. into their work, their name on the door, and their heart into their community. small business saturday is a day to show our support. a day to shop at stores owned by our friends and neighbors.
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in most states, a legal plan attorney is available with every personalized document to answer any questions. get started at legalzoom.com today. and now you're protected. i'm steve. there's a lot going on today so let's get right to out. president obama holds the first postelection news conference. now if only there was something to talk about. >> let me help you out, steve. i'm crystal ball. deal or no deal? >> take a breather, crystal. we'll get to all of that, i promise, because one of those stories about to get a whole lot more interesting. >> finally, someone besides me is talking about benghazi. will actions speak louder than words? >> all that plus she is the closest we have to royalty that we have here in the united states. all hail nancy si

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